News from the Votemaster
A new PPP poll released late yesterday has President Obama leading Mitt Romney 50% to 47% nationally. This is the first lead of 3 points either candidate has had for weeks. Obama led in all three days of the poll (Nov. 1-3). His approval rating is now positive (48% to 47%). A week ago PPP found him to be deep under water (44% to 52%) so this is a 9-point gain in a week for Obama.
Other recent national polls show it to be closer. Both the WaPo/ABC and Rasmussen national tracking polls released yesterday show the race to be tied at 48% apiece.
Earlier this year, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio, Jon Husted, decided to stop early voting on the weekend before the election (i.e., now) except for military families. The Democrats took him to court and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court let the appellate court decision stand that there was no basis in law to allow one group to have more voting time than everyone else. Yesterday large numbers of Ohioans voted but the real action is today, when Democrats have chartered buses to take voters directly from churches to polling places. Already 1.6 million people have voted in Ohio, which puts the state on track to top the 2008 early voting total, even though there are nine fewer voting days this year.
Early voting is important for the Democrats in Ohio because black voters, who favor Obama about 95% to 5%, used early voting at a rate 26 times that of white voters. This effect is due to the fact that many blacks have inflexible job schedules and can't take off time on Tuesdays to vote. A professional, like a lawyer, doctor, or architect, can reserve a few hours in advance on his or her election day agenda for voting, but a bus driver or nurse can't do that.
Despite the early voting yesterday and today in Ohio, enthusiasm among Democrats appears to be lower than in 2008, when thousands of young people volunteered for Obama's campaign. Many of them are disappointed that he did not change the world, as they were (naively) expecting. Nevertheless, the Obama organization has a much larger get-out-the-vote effort in Ohio than Romney does, with 137 field offices, compared to Romney's 40. Many experts expect the election to come down to which party does a better job of getting its supporters to the polls, rather than convincing the last three undecideds to join them.
With some roads blocked by fallen trees and some polling places under water or without power, election day could see a depressed turnout. If polling places have to move because the original site is unusable, some voters won't be able to find the new one or won't have time or the means to get there. Low turnout is generally bad for Democrats and good for Republicans. Also, some mailed-in absentee ballots may not arrive in time or at all. While the worst problems are in New York and New Jersey, there is also plenty of damage in other eastern states and also some in eastern Ohio.
The biggest effect may not be on the presidential election, unless turnout is way down in Ohio and Virginia, but in downballot races. For example, the senatorial election between Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and wrestling executive Linda McMahon in Connecticut could go to the Republican if many Democrats in Connecticut's cities can't get to the polls. The House race between Randy Altschuler and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) on Long Island could be affected, as could a close race on Staten Island between Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Democrat Mike Murphy. Races for state legislatures up and down the East Coast could be affected.
More than any previous President, Obama is gambling on turning out the vote among narrow demographic groups that generally favor the Democrats but vote at low rates. These include blacks, Latinos, young people and single women. He is also focusing on gays and lesbians. He hopes this eclectic coalition will offset his lack of popularity among older white men and married women. Focusing on demographic groups and raising issues that resonate with them, such as immigration for Latinos and marriage equality for gays and lesbians, is a completely different approach from what the Romney campaign is doing. His emphasis is on broad national issues such as the economy and taxes.
Third-party candidates never get elected President, but they do affect elections. Just think about Ralph Nader's 97,000 votes in Florida in 2000. This year two third-party candidates could affect results, although they balance out. In Virginia, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode may siphon off enough votes from Mitt Romney to throw the state to President Obama. But Goode is not the only minor candidate running for President. In Colorado, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is running on a platform that includes legalizing marijuana. It just so happens that a measure to legalize and tax marijuana like alcohol is also on the ballot in Colorado and looks like it might pass. There is good chance that normally stoned pot heads who might otherwise vote for Obama decide to vote for Johnson to emphasize their support for legalization. In such a close election, if Obama loses even 1% of the Colorado vote to Johnson, it could swing the state to Romney and possibly with it, the presidency.
The Christian Science Monitor has a long article about what people want from the next President. Reporters traveled all over the swing states and talked to voters. What they say is that they want the politicians to work together to solve the country's problems. What they almost always mean is they want to vanquish the other side and carry out their party's platform. For example, there are few people who say: "I don't care if the government increases taxes and uses the money to create jobs or cuts taxes and lets business do it. Just create more jobs." Most people have a very clear preference for one or the other approach. Everyone complains about how Washington wastes money, but some people want it to stop wasting money buying weapons the Pentagon doesn't even want (but the Congressman in whose district they are made does). Others want the government to stop wasting money by giving it to poor people in one form or another (food stamps, Medicaid, etc.).
Very few people see that the root cause of the problem is that the country is so evenly divided and the parties are so far apart. In the 1930s, the country was also bitterly divided and the parties were far apart but the Democrats had such a big majority that Roosevelt just rammed everything he wanted through Congress without bothering to even consult the Republicans. During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan pretty much got whatever he wanted from a compliant Congress. It is almost certain that neither party is going to win big on Tuesday and neither one will have a mandate to do anything. In fact, at this point, the most likely outcome is that Obama squeaks through with a small win in the electoral college, with the popular vote being close to a tie, the Democrats keep the Senate with a majority of a couple of seats, and the Republicans continue to run the House, possibly with a slightly reduced majority. We will have taken a year, spent $6 billion, and nothing will have changed. And all the people who wonder why the politicians don't do anything will continue to wonder.
One of the more popular conservative blogs is redstate.com. It is getting roughly the same traffic as this site (about a quarter of a million hits a day). The founder and chief cook and bottle washer, Erick Erickson, is way to the right of Rick Perry. During the run-up to the primaries he was wildly against Romney. On Nov. 8, 2011, he wrote an editorial that is definitely worth reading if you are interested in knowing what conservatives were thinking a year ago. In part, he wrote:
"Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a man devoid of any principles other than getting himself elected. As much as the American public does not like Barack Obama, they loath a man so fueled with ambition that he will say or do anything to get himself elected. Mitt Romney is that man.
I've been reading the 200 pages of single spaced opposition research from the John McCain campaign on Mitt Romney. There is no issue I can find on which Mitt Romney has not taken both sides. He is neither liberal nor conservative. He is simply unprincipled."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. But during the past year, Erickson's hatred of Obama was so great that he yelled himself hoarse against Obama, for example on July 18, 2012: he wrote: "Barack Obama's administration is filled with the ignorance of America you get from liberal academics" It's been like that almost every day all year.
But yesterday something new appeared: "When I wake up on Wednesday morning, I'm still going to have my wife. I'm still going to have my kids. I'm still going to have my family. And I'm still going to have my God. So will you." Later in the piece he said: "I'm not going to think the end of the world is upon us if my side loses." From someone who hates Obama with a passion and has railed against him all year (to great cheering from the comments section), this doesn't seem like an announcement of imminent victory.
In a Washington Post interview, Republican strategist Karl Rove had his Mene mene tekel upharsin moment when he blamed Romney's loss on the storm, even before the results are known, when he said: "If you hadn't had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy." He seems to have forgotten that Romney has been saying all those things for 2 years. Surely 3 more days didn't matter. What he meant was the storm gave Obama a Commander-in-Chief test and he passed.
Many people remember the 2000 election, but close elections are an American tradition going back to 1800. In that election Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied in the electoral college, so the election went to the House. After 35 ballots over the course of a week, there was still no winner. On the 36th ballot, the sole representative from Delaware, a Federalist, changed his vote and the Democrat Jefferson was elected. Feelings ran so high Jefferson had armed soldiers escort him to his inauguration.
In 1824, Andrew Jackson won a plurality or the popular vote and electoral vote but not a majority. Again it went to the House, which elected John Quincy Adams. Jackson was furious. The next day he began his 1828 campaign, which led to a landslide for him.
In 1876 Democrat Samuel Tilden easily won the popular vote, but ballot stuffing in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida put the electoral votes in dispute. When Congress convened in January 1877, it created a 15-member commission to solve the dispute. On a straight party-line vote, it awarded all the disputed electoral votes to Republican Rutherford Hayes, who won the electoral college 185 to 184. Democrats referred to him as Rutherfraud Hayes.
The IPSOS tracking polls that overlap previous IPSOS tracking polls are not included. Only when the samples do not overlap previous polls are they included. Otherwise these polls get more weight than they should.
|California||54%||39%||Oct 25||Oct 30||Field Poll|
|Iowa||47%||42%||Oct 30||Nov 02||Selzer|
|Maine||49%||42%||Oct 30||Oct 31||Critical Insights|
|Michigan||52%||46%||Nov 01||Nov 03||PPP|
|Minnesota||53%||45%||Nov 02||Nov 03||PPP|
|New Hampshire||48%||48%||Oct 31||Nov 02||U. of New Hampshire|
|Ohio||50%||48%||Oct 24||Nov 03||Columbus Dispatch|
|Pennsylvania||52%||46%||Nov 02||Nov 03||PPP|
|Washington||53%||46%||Nov 01||Nov 03||PPP|
|Wisconsin||51%||48%||Nov 02||Nov 03||PPP|
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||I||I %||Start||End||Pollster|
|California||Dianne Feinstein*||54%||Elizabeth Emken||33%||Oct 25||Oct 30||Field Poll|
|Florida||Bill Nelson*||52%||Connie McGillicuddy||43%||Oct 30||Nov 01||Mason Dixon|
|Maine||Cynthia Dill||11%||Charlie Summers||33%||Angus King||49%||Oct 30||Oct 31||Critical Insights|
|Michigan||Debbie Stabenow*||55%||Pete Hoekstra||42%||Nov 01||Nov 03||PPP|
|Minnesota||Amy Klobuchar*||62%||Kurt Bills||32%||Nov 02||Nov 03||PPP|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||48%||Josh Mandel||48%||Nov 01||Nov 01||Rasmussen|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||50%||Josh Mandel||45%||Oct 30||Nov 01||Mason Dixon|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||51%||Josh Mandel||45%||Oct 24||Nov 03||Columbus Dispatch|
|Pennsylvania||Bob Casey*||52%||Tom Smith||44%||Nov 02||Nov 03||PPP|
|Washington||Maria Cantwell*||57%||Michael Baumgartner||39%||Nov 01||Nov 03||PPP|
|Wisconsin||Tammy Baldwin||51%||Tommy Thompson||48%||Nov 02||Nov 03||PPP|
* Denotes incumbent
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Previous HeadlinesNov03 Employment Up But Unemployment Also Up
Nov03 Ethnic Mix of the Electorate May Determine the Winner
Nov03 Early Results from Ohio on Election Day May Be Misleading
Nov03 Republicans Are Praying for Rain on Election Day
Nov03 Outside Groups Spent Half a Billion Dollars in October
Nov03 Probe into Voter Registration Fraud in Virginia Widens
Nov03 Betting Site Has Romney as the Favorite--in 2016
Nov03 Are Pollsters Asking the Wrong Question?
Nov02 Both Candidates Back on the Campaign Trail
Nov02 October Unemployment Numbers Will Be Out at 8:30 A.M. EDT Today
Nov02 Forget the Middle Class, It's Elite vs. Elite
Nov02 Romney Ad in Florida Ties Obama to Latin American Dictators
Nov02 Bipartisanship Flourishes--with a Couple of Footnotes
Nov02 Tuesday Will Be National Lawyer Day
Nov02 It's Dirty Tricks Time
Nov02 Get-Out-the-Vote Effort Backfires
Nov01 New Batch of Polls Welcome News for Obama
Nov01 Poll: Obama Doing a Good Job Dealing with the Storm
Nov01 Can Romney Expand the Map?
Nov01 Jobs Report Will be Issued Friday at 8:30 A.M.
Nov01 Will the Loser Blame It on Sandy?
Nov01 Native Americans Sue Montana over Voting Rights
Nov01 Same-Sex Marriage Initiative Tied in Maryland
Nov01 Dick Morris Predicts a Romney Landslide and Republican Senate
Oct31 Now Comes the Hard Part for the Campaigns
Oct31 Effects of the Storm on Voting
Oct31 Voter-Fraud Vigilantes Could Affect Voting
Oct31 Hurricane Damage Will Affect Polling All Week
Oct31 Could the Popular and Electoral Vote Be Different?
Oct31 Chrysler CEO Rebuts Romney on Jeeps
Oct31 More Republicans Than Democrats Have Voted in Colorado
Oct31 Charlie Crist Campaigning with Bill Clinton in Florida
Oct30 One Week to Go
Oct30 Obama Cancel Events to Stay in Washington
Oct30 Obama Cancels Events to Stay in Washington
Oct30 Five Hidden Factors That Could Affect the Election
Oct30 Hurricane May Delay Final Jobs Report Scheduled for Friday
Oct30 Who Gets the Blame for the Loss?
Oct29 National Polls Are Divided
Oct29 Where Do We Stand Now?
Oct29 Sandy, Barack and Mitt
Oct29 Lawyers Are Massing for Election Day and Beyond
Oct29 Response Rates to Pollsters Are at an All-Time Low
Oct29 Supreme Court Appointment(s) Could Be the Next President's Only Legacy
Oct29 Palm Beach County Has Another Ballot Snafu
Oct29 Could Faithless Electors Change the Election Result?
Oct29 A Possible Compromise on the Electoral College
Oct29 Another Analysis of Rasmussen Polls
Oct28 Early Voting Started in Florida Yesterday
Oct28 Early Voting Explodes in Nevada